hans-jörg georgi :
The gallery is dedicating its latest exhibition of the year to the work of German artist Hans-Jörg Georgi. Fascinated by the possibility of an escape to a better world, he devotes his time to making model airplanes capable of transporting humanity to a new Eden. After taking over a part of the Maison Rouge in 2014, he was featured in Australia in 2018 at the MoNa, David Walsh’s eccentric museum - following a proposal from The Museum of Everything -, and very recently at the Documenta of Kassel #15. For his first gallery exhibition, some twenty of his spectacular sculptures will be shown, as well as his preparatory drawings, as elliptic as they are mesmerizing.
The heavens are the space we hold for our hopes, and also the space in which we yearn to spend the afterlife. They are everywhere we are not. So much so that since time immemorial, they have sheltered our gods, both benevolent and threatening, as well as our thoughts, consuming themselves in conjecture and dreams.
For Hans-Jörg Georgi, skies are the only possible escape from our extinction. Ever since he was born in Frankfurt in 1949, he struggled to find his place – as any child who feels “different”. And since poliomyelitis paralysed his legs and prevented him from walking, he took to imagining gravity-defying aircrafts. Twenty years ago, he stated with messianic fervor: “I want to do good for the world and I am taking you all on a trip”.
To live up to his promise, he started building a fantastic fleet – made of shoe boxes, as if to add to the irony – capable of enduring a long and arduous journey. This is the central paradox of art brut: Beauty – the only aspect of our world that makes it worth living in – is often created by the most deprived and underprivileged among us. And even if the world is still not perfectly bearable, Beauty offers us an escape into unconditional empathy. As François Salmon puts it in the preface of our show’s catalog, “this gradual ascension from the sensible to the intelligible brings us to both a spiritual elevation and the universalization of our love.”
Georgi is thus a spiritual son of Ut-napishtim, the sumerian Noah whose story is exposed on 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian tablets. Both put their infinite mercy and compassion at the service of saving the world. Georgi soberly sums it up in a phrase: “There is nothing but love.”
This is the first time Georgi’s fleet is displayed in an art gallery since 2014, when it was shown during a group exhibition at La maison rouge in Paris.
Hans-Jörg Georgi joined the Goldstein workshop in 2001, bringing with him thousands of drawings depicting airplanes and children. It is in his workshop that he begins the creation of three-dimensional airplanes, which he manufactures using cut-up shoeboxes assembled with glue. A veritable fleet takes shape, resembling a Noah’s Ark, as it gathers airplanes of different models: bumpy and textured, they take on anthropomorphic appearances. Human, animal, and technological realms blend together in this collection. Georgi’s works are notably part of the Treger Saint Silvestre & Antoine de Galbert collections. In 2022, we dedicated his first gallery exhibition, entitled noah’s plane.
Text: François Salmeron
Foreword: Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition hans-jörg georgi : noah’s planes, from December 8, 2022 to January 22, 2023.